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Brock Lesnar, Jim Leach scheduled to appear at Grand Opening of Dan Gable Museum

WATERLOO, Iowa - Former WWE world heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar and former United States Congressmen Jim Leach will join several Olympic champions in celebrating the Grand Opening of the Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum (DGIWIM) on Feb. 17 and 18.

The Grand Opening is both days, but special guests will be there for a limited time on Saturday and Sunday. Dan Gable will be at the museum to greet visitors from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, with a ribbon cutting by the Chamber of Commerce set for 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

Gable will also be at the museum on Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The museum will be open to the public both days for the general admission charge of $5 for adults and $3 for students.

Brock Lesnar won the WWE world heavyweight title in 2000 from The Rock and defeated Kurt Angle in an Iron Man Match in 2003. He won the world heavyweight championship of New Japan Wrestling in 2005 before a huge crowd in the Tokyo Dome. He retired from pro wrestling in 2006 to pursue a career in mixed martial arts.

At 6-3 and 290 pounds, Lesnar is one of the most popular professional wrestlers of the last decade. He was also NCAA heavyweight champion in 2000 and a two-time All-American while wrestling for the University of Minnesota. In 2004, he left pro wrestling to try out with the Minnesota Vikings of the NFL.

Lesnar will be at the museum to greet fans from 1-3 p.m. on Sunday. Brad Rheingans, a two-time Olympian who wrestled professionally for 14 years, will also be at the museum from 1-3 on Sunday. Rheingans was one-half of the AWA world tag-team champions in the 1970s and trained many of today's top pro stars, including Lesnar. He is a member of the pro wrestling hall of fame, which is also located in the DGIWIM.

Leach served 14 terms in the Untied States Congress before losing in last year's national election. An Iowa Republican, he was also state wrestling champion for Davenport High School in 1960. He wrestled at Princeton University, and is a member of the Glen Brand Wrestling Hall of Fame of Iowa, which is housed in the DGIWIM. He served on numerous committees in Congress and is an expert in foreign affairs.

Also appearing at the museum over the weekend will be Olympic champions Bill Smith (1952), who wrestled at Iowa State Teachers College; Doug Blubaugh (1960), who wrestled for Oklahoma State, and Ben Peterson (1972), who wrestled for Iowa State.

"This is our Grand Opening and we hope wrestling fans from all across the area will make a point to come see the museum," said Kyle Klingman, associate director. "Not only will they get to meet Dan Gable and other Olympians, but Brock Lesnar, as well. Brock is truly one of the most impressive men ever to step onto a college mat, or into a pro ring. He has drawn huge crowds all over the nation and in Japan."

The museum moved from Newton to Waterloo in December and opened its doors for the first time on Jan. 12. The 16,000-square foot facility includes tributes to Abe Lincoln as a young wrestler, a wall showing Jacob wrestling the angel of the lord, an Olympic Games display area, a college history area, and special displays for Dan Gable, Cael Sanderson, Frank Gotch and Iowa high school and college stars.

The DGIWIM's mission is to preserve the history of mankind's Oldest Sport in a fashion that is both educational and entertaining, and to inspire young people to dream big and work hard.

For more information, visit the museum's website at or call (319) 233-0745.
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